San José (Agenzia Fides) - "Our nation is going through one of the most difficult moments in its history due to the number of murders that plunge our families into mourning, the violence that has penetrated all our communities and the fear that has seized society". This is the alarm launched by the Bishops of Costa Rica in their Easter message, addressed to "all the Catholic people and people of good will, to share a message of hope with the power of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus".
"Christ is risen! He is truly risen!" write the Bishops, recalling that during Holy Week we celebrate "the central mysteries of the Christian faith" and such celebrations "open the horizon for us to experience the fifty days of Easter, a time of fullness in which we bear witness to the love of the risen Jesus Christ who saved and redeemed us". The bishops note with sorrow that the country is going through "a real emergency due to violence and crime that, without precedent, affects us all," so "we must turn our gaze to the Risen Lord and implore his presence among us to restore peace in Costa Rica".
The challenges are enormous, which is why the Bishops reiterate that "only through a great national reconciliation that includes a sincere and effective dialogue involving all sectors, many of which are today opposed to each other for political or ideological reasons, can authentic paths of peace and harmony be built".
The Bishops raise their prayers so that the risen Jesus "illuminates all this darkness that fills us with shame, and dispels all signs of evil and restore fraternity and justice". In Christ's resurrection divine goodness shines forth, "every sign of death and sin has been destroyed by eternal life, and the unfathomable mercy of God has been shown to us". Taking up Pope Francis' words in his Urbi et Orbi message at Easter 2022 - "We need the Risen Crucified to believe in the victory of love, to hope for reconciliation" - the bishops conclude by stating that only in this way can we overcome "violence, hatred and selfishness, and we can with our actions bear witness to his peace, through attitudes of love and solidarity".
For some time, the Bishops of Costa Rica have been pointing out with concern the violence that dominates the country. The first of the issues addressed in the last plenary assembly of the Episcopal Conference, last February, was crime. In recent years, they recalled in their final message, the number of homicides has increased in Costa Rica, reaching historic levels in 2022, with a rate of 12.6 per 100,000 inhabitants. The month of January closed with the alarming and painful figure of 73 murders, a figure never seen before in the country. For this reason, they have made "a strong appeal to all the authorities of the nation" to put an end to this tragedy, and to initiate "a serious and concrete dialogue" to make joint decisions to combat this evil (see Fides, 10/2/2023). (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 12/4/2023)